New Times’ Thomas Francis Nails Sunrise


The New Times has an absorbing story on Broward’s perpetual political basket case — The City of Sunrise.

The story by Thomas Francis is what is commonly know in the newspaper biz as a rake-it-in-a-pile piece.  He took a series of previously printed stories, added some new quotes and fresh reporting, and wrapped them into one compelling article.

Francis, who I don’t know and never met, did a good job.  He nailed the Sunrise’s shady government.

His article vividly explains why ethical questions have swirled around Sunrise City Hall since commissioners decided to hire City Attorney Stuart Michelson in a no-bid deal.

The Michelson deal was first exposed by Miami Herald staffer Dan Christensen.  I worked with Dan at the Fort Lauderdale News a generation ago.

Unfortunately, the Sunrise articles were among Dan’s last pieces for The Herald.  Although he has a wall full of national awards, he was laid off in a cost-cutting measure.

Broward taxpayers lost a guardian when that happened.  There are fewer and fewer reporters like Dan to watch over out-of-control governments like Sunrise.

Francis’ article is good watchdog journalism.

But I’m sure Francis would agree that Broward would be better off if he and Dan Christensen were looking over the shoulders of politicians. 

Read Thomas Francis’ fine article here. 

14 Responses to “New Times’ Thomas Francis Nails Sunrise”

  1. Sunrise is A Cesspool says:

    Michaelson should quit now before he gets dragged down in the mud with all the Sunrise commissioners.

  2. A Good Reporter says:

    I remember Dan Christensen. He covered the agencythat employed me and was always factual. Why don’t you hire him for this website?

    FROM BUDDY: I would hire him, but I couldn’t pay him what he is worth.

  3. Floridan says:

    “His article vividly explains why ethical questions have swirled around Sunrise City Hall since commissioners decided to hire City Attorney Stuart Michelson in a no-bid deal.”

    You’re giving Michelson too prominent a place in this. When haven’t ethical questions swirled around Sunrise City Hall? The spirit of John Lomelo is alive and well in Sunrise.

  4. informcouncil says:

    Mr. Francis should be asked to disclose his relationships with Alu and D. Stinson.

  5. Tom Francis says:

    Of course I’d rather have guys like Dan Christensen still toiling away. I miss the days when reporters’ chief professional distraction was beating another reporter. You’re right, Buddy, that Sunrise in particular needs more coverage, but I’ve always kept an interest in that city’s affairs. You might remember this story:

    @ informcouncil: Sorry, pal. Nothing too juicy to disclose. I’ve interviewed Alu on Sunrise political concerns. And frankly, I don’t know who D. Stinson is.

  6. Wishner Bonaparte says:

    Wishner and his lackies drove Salerno out under the guise that no one individual should have that much power. Does anyone recall Salerno ever cancelling an election? Maybe Wishner’s not that offended by power after all.

  7. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Thank you Thomas Francis for reminding us about the article on the real corruption in Sunrise.

    “Deck the halls with waste and folly” should be required reading for all Sunrise residents as well as reporters who take every opportunity to gloat at Sunrise even today.

    A hard copy should be provided to anybody who either goes to the polls to vote in Sunrise, or requests an absentee ballot.

    No, Sunrise isn’t perfect, but there are changes brewing that will correct a great deal.

    I’m sure Buddy and Thomas Francis will be watching with a microscope as they should.

    You might think that the cancellation of the Mayor’s race was payback for hiring Stuart Michelson, but it wasn’t.

    Look back in history and the very code that Michelson quoted was part of a charter revision in 1992 drafted under the the guidance of the Commission back then, led by none other than Steve Feren and Steve Effman, both attorneys, both of whom should have known better.

    Or did they?

    That charter revision was on a ballot voted for by the residents of Sunrise that cared to come out and vote. The “will of the people” so to speak. But no. The will of the Commission back then.

    Malfeasance? (Among others, direct violation of the public trust.)

    We’ll never know for sure.

    More like Misfeasance. (failure to do the right thing in light of official action.)

    Or even Nonfeasance. (the omission of some act that ought to have been performed.)

    Judge for yourselves, it falls under one of those three.

    But Sunrise residents need to be reminded up front about the contents of the article.

    Such as Steve Feren receiving a $50,000 payment from All Service Refuse just before he was re-appointed to the Sunrise Commission.

    Lobbying fee, they call it.

    All Service harassement of Sheila Alu (and Don Rosen) for daring to ask for competitive bidding on the Sunrise Garbage contract.

    Not only were they both harassed by agents of All Service, but Rosen’s Commission office was broken into and then covered up.

    Where was Joey Scuotto’s vociferous opposition to no bid contracts back then?

    Sunrise’s bid for both Weston and Bonaventure was not driven by the Commissioners, but by All Service Refuse.

    At that time, All Service was so intertwined with Sunrise that then Executive Vice President Harold Carter was appointed as a “non voting” but opinionated member of the Sunrise Planning and Zoning Board.

    All Service’s eyes and ears, so to speak as well as Pat Salerno’s.

    When Carter was finally ousted from All Service, there was suddenly no longer a need for a “non voting” member of the P & Z board. Makes one wonder why.

    What the article does not mention is that when John Ferguson divorced, he stayed for a while at the home of his pal, Joey Scuotto.

    Ferguson did say that he was “no longer in the garbage business.” Well that was true until last year.

    Ferguson is now a partner in a company listed as Green-ergy. His partner of record is none other than perennial Commission candidate James DePelisi.

    According to DePelisi’s own campaign literature, he wanted to build a garbage fired power plant in Sunrise.

    Had he won the election would he have voted on this? If he had, it would have been a violation of ethics.

    But then the question is: Into whose pocket would the profits go?

    One can only wonder.

    There’s plenty more, but not for here. It’ll be on

  8. You're not fooling anybody says:

    There you go again Marty! you mean

    Marty, your Wishner’s appointment to a board! you were behind Duh!field and helped run rosen’s campaign!! You’re not some impartial judge in this smelly dungheap we call Sunrise politics, you’re part of the reason it smells.

    P.S. You still manage to make a good point or two. Too bad you did’nt work this hard to keep your own seat.

  9. informcouncil says:

    Hey Marty, why don’t you add James Feeley of Ace Waste to your article. He was Area President of Republic Services and General Manager of All Services overseeing both Carter and Ferguson and now owner of Ace Waste Services. But his full time duties include being Mayor Roger Wishners drinking partner and largest campaign contributor to Wishner, Rosen and Scofield. Feeley is also the largest customer Eventon Safety Services, owned by none other than Don Rosen.

  10. Marty Rubinstein says:

    You’re not fooling:

    I AM a board appointee by Wishner. So what?

    I not only ran Rosen’s campaign this year in concert with Bev Stracher, I ran his first campaign in 2001, kicking Fran Klauber to the curb.

    I also ran Wishner’s 2007 campaign in concert with Bev Stracher.

    And yes, I ran both of Sofield’s campaigns as well.

    So that makes me extremely guilty of getting rid of the Spineless commission doing the bidding of the guy with his name on a street adjacent to the Arena.

    I do love it when the tattered remnants of the old gang rear their ugly heads.

    As for being impartial? Not hardly.

    Not my job.

    I am as impartial as Buddy, but then I do try not to leave out details that would be contrary to my comments and opinion.

    The reality is that nobody who writes opinion is impartial.

    Admit it… neither are you.


    I know Jim Feely very well. I also know how he feels about Carter and Ferguson, and it isn’t for publication without heavy editing.

    Let’s just say he’s not enthralled with them.

    Feely’s a guy who put his reputation, his home and his life on the line in order to build a successful business from scratch.

    Sort of like Joe the Plumber, but in reality Jim the Waste Hauler.

    How many people do you know who have put themselves on the line to either make it or go bust?

    Not everybody in the waste business is a thug.

    To my knowledge, Feely hasn’t weaseled his way into control of the entire commission or the City Manager to vote for no-bid contracts.

    He hasn’t had a “non-voting” member appointed to P&Z to oversee it and perhaps even override it.

    He hasn’t schemed to appoint any commissioners to do his bidding.

    He hasn’t schemed to steal money from Sunrise seniors by charging them exorbitant garbage rates.

    He hasn’t schemed to take over Weston, Bonaventure or any other Broward municipality that I know of.

    He hasn’t schemed to harass city commissioners that support free and open contract bidding for his or any other company.

    Wishner’s drinking buddy? Not a crime as far as I know.

    I’ve hoisted a glass or two with Jim as well.

    I like the guy. So I intend to continue doing so.

    Largest campaign contributor? Not a crime either.

    Eveton Safety’s largest customer? Fodder for conflict? Maybe, maybe not.

    Can’t say yes. Can’t say no.

  11. Rubenstein the Gad-fly - GET A LIFE says:

    Hey Marty….We know that you are not a concerned activist, but simply, a simple minded, hired wannabe by the Wishner camp, who desperately wants to feel a part of the current clique in town. Or should we say, hired concubine.

    You were the kid that no one picked for any sports teams or playground games, but yet let the bullies pick on him.

    Now in the twilight of your life, you have to convince yourself of your own self importance and redeem yourself, with your own self retribution.

    I would like to know what you’re getting promised for your continual, slanderous, defaming comments, because you will not be able to unlawfully participate in a vote to have your legal expenses diverted to and paid for by the City of Sunrise for a personal lawsuit. With as many people that you are jabbing, I wouldn’t be surprised if it weren’t Class Action.

    I am glad you take pride in running campaigns because the only thing you know how to do is fabricate lies and attempt to table reverse the weaknesses and unbecomings of your own candidates, to their opposition. Real clever, rocket science, strategy.

    Someone as wise and astute as you regarding public service and politics should be a power broker in DC or Tallahasse, or at least Broward County, shouldn’t they? But I am sure you have turned down several seven figure offers.

    Moreover, what have you ever done in your life that mattered?

    The answer is nothing. You are a has been that never was.

    You have no long term visions or long term goals in your life, either personally or professionally. To attempt to grow something or build something or help the community. If you did, you would not be wasting your time on blogs, constantly acting as the Gad Fly that you are.

    Instead, you would be out in the community doing something productive.

    However, you do not even know what the word production means, either from a communal standpoint or an economic standpoint. You have never had to create, produce, or manufacture anything in your whole life.

    What kind of example are you setting as a former schoolboard rep, or even as President of your homeowner’s association?

    The answer is no example all.

    You are attempting to be a leader and have people rally behind you, when all that you bring to the table is gossip and controversy.

    The fact is, you do all of this because you are insecure and unproductive to society. Without these blogs and your feeble websites (that no one reads), you would be in a padded room, staring out from the window, drawing your own grass on the window, this way you would have something to watch grow.

    But even if you were to do that, it would be more productive than what you are doing now.

  12. GRADITUDE says:

    Thank you Thomas Francis for reminding us how shameful the present Sunrise is.
    Presently an appointed mayor for two years not being accountable to the public who sneaks in to an appointed Mayors postion through the back door,at one of the meeting the city attoney told the council they could change the law and the council refused to do so,because they wanted wishner to have control.
    We all know that Mr.Credible Don Rosen after every election tells everybody that he is for districting and term limits which he will do nothing about as per usual.
    Larry Soffeld was also appointed to a two year term,given a gift by his buddies,this guy not into his second appointed meeting votes himself a pay raise,not only does he get a gift for an appointment but I guess he realized the frist meeting was to much for him so he voted himself a pay raise the next meeting,that takes some guts.
    Joey Scuotto has vision at least he notices that when things dont look right during bad times,the economy,foreclosures,unemployment at least he tried to reach out,how do these well hailed commissioners go back to there citzens especially Mr Soffield and tell there community this.
    Steve Feren was an honorable mayor,City Attorney Michaelson thought so when he was Steve Ferens treasurer when he ran for circuit judge.
    Buddy thanks for being equal in free speech, when you write an article you stand by it and allow people to respond favorably and unfavorably,not like other websites around town

  13. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Q:What have you ever done in your life that mattered?

    A: Much more than you’ll ever be capable of.

  14. graditude says:

    marty you sure did nothing other then lose everything,your uncapable of anything,it must be great to be a legend in your own embrassing mind,besides when I wrote my commrnts your name wasnt even mentioned,go back to diaper service